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“due to an administrative error”

 

John Birks
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Welfare Rights and Debt Advice, Stockport Council

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She received a state pension, as well as a pension credit top-up.

However, in 2017, “action was taken to suspend her pension credit”.

Rather than her state pension continuing while the credits were reviewed, all payments were stopped “due to an administrative error”.

Following the hearing, Mr Worrall said:

“I feel as though there was a duty of care that was not fully carried out as it should’ve been, causing her to be in a situation where the only course of action was to end her life, which is a disgrace really.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-48212594

     
ClairemHodgson
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Solicitor, SC Law, Harrow

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gah.  and people of that generation never will get help (too proud, too independent, brought up not to, etc).

     
NAI
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Unclaimed Benefits Campaign, Middlesbrough CAB

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Let me be clear I am not making any accusation or imputation in this specific case but isn’t it time for a prosecution for Gross Negligence Manslaughter or Misconduct in Public Office for one of these so called “errors” that leads to a death? There appears to be no accountability and there needs to be because after all someone died and, unfortunately, this is far from an isolated case (i.e., death following removal of benefits).

On a more general note, are the people who make these “administrative errors” not supervised or managed? Everyone can make mistakes but all organisations need to have mechanisms of managing and checking decisions or actions. If any existed in this case, it appears that they didn’t work. Who is responsible for that? Someone should be.

     
John Birks
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Welfare Rights and Debt Advice, Stockport Council

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I don’t think anyone can be prosecuted for it the way things are set up, and why would they? Ultimately, everything is done in the name of the SSWP. And ‘stuff’ rolls downhill, not up.

Administration of benefits is very wrong and should (IMO) have more of a human factor in it with prospective decisions and a dialogue (or attempt at) before taking anything away, with an exception for hard fraud (i.e. criminal threshold.)

If only there was a warning of this dystopian bureaucratic nightmare? How many more Archibald Buttles?

     
Oldestrocker
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Principal, Forensic Accountants, Canterbury, Kent

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I presume that the DWP/Pension Service are aware of their responsibilities when considering a suspension be it intended or unintended?

Consideration should be given as to the health of the individual together and their financial circumstances.

I remember also a GPC case a few years ago where no consideration was given when suspended. Like the case in question there was a request for information and evidence. Unfortunately the information requested could only be obtained from a 3rd party who refused to co-operate. Consequently the GPC award was then terminated.

When I questioned as to the way this had been handled I was informed by the Pension Service that it actually wasn’t a termination as such it was ‘an inhibition made by their computer system’!

Nowt ever surprises me where the DWP are involved.

     
Ros
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Answering a question about this case in the House of Commons yesterday, Guy Opperman said -

The right hon. Gentleman rightly raises his constituent’s case; I have already spoken to him on two occasions. Our thoughts are with Mrs Worrall’s family and friends. The Government apologise unreservedly for the clerical error—it was a clerical error—that led to Mrs Worrall’s pensions payment being stopped. We have urgently reviewed our processes and acted so that benefits are no longer linked on our systems, to try to ensure that this does not happen again. There is an internal process review; I undertake to write to the right hon. Gentleman in the short term with what we know and with more detail when the urgent process review has taken place. I am including Mr Worrall in that process.

 

 

     
Oldestrocker
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Maybe this will entail an extended lunch break for staff to re-read the DWP’s own guidance material?

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/607742/suspension-termination-guide.pdf